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Author Topic: requeening tomarrow  (Read 6312 times)
Zoot
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« on: May 21, 2006, 10:14:49 PM »

This is actually a carry over from a post thread in the general forum.

In that initial post I had inquired about a single queen cell that I had observed in the weaker of my 2 hives (both package, hived on 5/1). The feed back convinced me that supercedure is taking place; the queen was not in evidence, there is no capped brood or visible eggs and activity is falling off. I am certain that I overhandled this hive (feeder problems) and this being the 3rd week, all the evidence supports supercedure.

I initially wanted to let the process continue but some local beekeepers have convinced me to purchase a new queen and install her immediately along with a frame of brood from my good hive. I am doing this in the morning.

My question is: what if a laying worker scenario is about to develope? What conflicts might this cause with the arrival of a new queen? I have no evidence of this yet but I know it is a possiblity at this stage.
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2006, 04:09:47 AM »

Hi Ho Jim,
If you see no tell sign of a layer worker yet, i.e. eggs on the sides of cells or multiple eggs in each cell the hive has probably not gone laying worker yet.  Also the earlier into a laying worker situation you can intervene the better the chases of success.  Good Luck.
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2006, 07:40:26 AM »

The frame of eggs/brood is the important thing.  That way you'll find out what's going on.  If there's a virgin queen in there she'll kill your new queen.  If there's not they will start new queen cells.  I guess you'll find out.  But realize that you can have a new queen emerge in as short as 10 days (usually about 11 or 12) and she still won't lay for another two weeks.  In that time every bit of brood in the hive will have emerged and there will be no eggs, no brood but there is a queen that is on the verge of laying.  But you could also find a hive in this condition and it could have been queenless for four weeks already.

The brood is the safest bet because it allows the bees to resolve the problem, if there is one, without wasting a queen.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
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Michael Bush
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Zoot
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2006, 11:12:51 AM »

Letting the bees resolve things was my absolute preference for many reasons, not least of which would have been the valuable experience of monitoring all the stages of supercedure first hand. I did obtain a new queen though and the reason I decided to go this route was my concern for the colony's chances of survival at this point with a virgin queen. I don't want to overly tax the resources of my other hive in efforts to stabilize this one. I already took a single frame of brood (very full) and moved it over. A couple of the local old-timers expressed concern about the later honey flows here and felt that an already weakened hive would best be served by requeening. We'll see. Certianly have mixed emotions about it. Thanks to both of you as always.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2006, 06:51:13 AM »

But if the hive has a virgin queen is is about to start laying and you introduce a new queen, how will that help things along? If anything it will only disrupt things more. If there IS a virgin queen she IS about to lay.  That is not a time delay.  Generally that is quicker than ordering a queen, waiting for her to get here, introducing her in a cage for four days and then releasing her.  Then, if it's a commercial queen, she's probably been banked for weeks and it will take about two weeks for her to start laying well.

Of course if they ARE queenless, which is a possiblilty then getting the queen will speed things along a bit.
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Michael Bush
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Zoot
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2006, 08:21:04 AM »

Your astute observations are no doubt right on the mark, hence my little quandry here. The locals here did refer to all scenarios though ultimately they seemed to lean towards the hive being queenless. My goal throughout is to be as observant as humanly possible and make this a valuable educational experience regardless of the outcome. I guess I felt that all the evidence left me exactly in the middle and a decision had to be made...I suppose if there is a virgin queen and she kills the new queen the worst case is that I'm out $18.95 and a morning's drive.

Interestingly, when I looked in that hive yesterday (decided to wait until this afternoon for warmer weather to introduce the new queen) the supercedure cells(s) were gone. And still no brood, eggs, larva or cappings of any kind other than the new frame of brood borrowed from my other hive.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2006, 11:36:11 PM »

Having wasted hard earned money on queens many times before I learned how long it takes a queen to lay, I tend to assume the bees have a queen unless I see evidence otherwise.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2006, 01:09:22 AM »

This is a time where a press in queen screen would be invaluable or at least worth its cost.  Loosing the new queen into the press in cage would allow her to function without her being killed, being sure to toss in a few tendants.  With the new queen thus protected a few days delay to see if a supercedure quwwn starts laying won't hurt.
The removal of the supercedure cell means bees have taken a different action, either they've gotten a queen or going to a laying worker.  So nows the time to do something.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 01:27:24 AM »

odds are that the queens hatched and the workers tore down the cells, I have seen with bad weather a virgin queen take 4 weeks from the day she hatches before she started laying and when she did she filled up the frames, if you put that queen in I bet they kill her unless you can find the young queen..... but like mentioned above, I use a frame of brood to tell me if a hive is queen-less or not if there are no cells, you will know by looking at the eggs in the cells if you have a laying worker but remember a young queen will sometime lay 2 eggs in a cell when starting out, I have seen this also this year on 2 queens I raised and they are going good now with very good brood patterns... good luck!!!
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2006, 06:56:11 AM »

I'm afraid there are a lot of old beekeepers who never learned to do bee math.  The books even seem to imply that anytime you don't find eggs or brood you are therefore, queenless, when this is obviously not necessarily true.
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Michael Bush
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Zoot
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2006, 09:42:10 AM »

Yes, the literature does weigh in heavily in for the case of a hive being queenless in such a situation. But, the more I think of it, it just doesn't seem logical for a colony to build supercedure cells and then tear them down for no reason. The hive has seemed classically queenright ever since I added the frame of brood over the weekend, at least in temperment and behavior. I wish I had tried a push in box...but that's moot now. Why does the consensus here seem to lean towards the virgin queen (if she exists) killing the new queen? I've read that that is likely but is it invariable?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2006, 09:07:20 PM »

The virgin queen won't kill the new queen, the workers will.  They will chew her feet off first and they will harrass her and not feed her.  They do this because they HAVE a queen.  If the laying queen was already in the hive when the virgin emerged there is a good chance the workers would accept them both and a good chance they wouldn't bother each other.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2006, 12:27:55 AM »

>it just doesn't seem logical for a colony to build supercedure cells and then tear them down for no reason.

Oh but they do.  Instincts are not always logical.  Logic is a human concept not a universal concept.
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Zoot
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2006, 10:20:21 PM »

Well, the new queen seems to have bee accpeted. I saw her the other day after her release and all seems well though I won't feel completely at ease with this hive until I see eveidence of her laying. The hive has really come back to life though.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2006, 10:21:33 AM »

>Well, the new queen seems to have bee accpeted.

Then they must have been queenless.  That was one of the two possibilities.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2006, 11:36:44 AM »

A couple of follow up questions here:  if the hive had in fact produced a queen and if the workers had accepted them both..how would that situation have most likely eventually played out assuming minimal intervention on my part?

Also..if, as in my apparent situation, a hive seems queenless (there are absolutely no eggs, larva, capped brood in evidence) and if one doesn't add a frame or 2 of brood, by what method can a queen be produced? I am familiar with laying workers from years ago but my recollection on the math involved there seems to make it unlikely that one (or they) could have produced a virgin queen in the timeframe I was faced with (approx. 2 to weeks weeks from hiving a 3# package).
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2006, 01:55:24 PM »

>A couple of follow up questions here: if the hive had in fact produced a queen and if the workers had accepted them both..how would that situation have most likely eventually played out assuming minimal intervention on my part?

You have made a few erroneous assumptions.  I've never seen a hive with a laying queen accept another laying queen.  To set up a two queen hive (which I've don' purposfully on occasion) you have to split the hive so the side you're introducing the new queen to is queenless.  I have the best luck if I take an existing hive and make two queenless splits and after overnight add a new queen to each.  Then after they are accpted put them together in a newspaper combine with a double queen excluder to keep the queens apart (either two bound excluders or a super with an excluder above and below or a horizontal hive with a brood area on each end seperated with a vertical excluder on each side of the center).  Anytime you put a laying queen in a queenright hvie the workers will ball the new queen and kill her.  The only way you naturally end up with a two queen hive is when a supercedure occurs and the laying queen, who has no interest in the new queen, continues to lay and the new queen, who is only looking for virgins as her competition, starts to lay.  A mother daughter two queen hive is more common than most people think.  The only way to simulate this is to add a virgin queen or a queen cell about to emerge to a queenright hive.  Still it's most likely they will dispose of the old queen and keep the young one.

>Also..if, as in my apparent situation, a hive seems queenless (there are absolutely no eggs, larva, capped brood in evidence) and if one doesn't add a frame or 2 of brood, by what method can a queen be produced?

Pretty uch, it can't.  On rare occasions Thelytoky has been observed where a laying worker lays a viable queen egg, but this is like hoping to win the lottery.  It's unlikely.  But they may have already.  A virgin is very hard to find and it takes at least a couple of weeks for a virgin to get mated and start to lay.

> I am familiar with laying workers from years ago but my recollection on the math involved there seems to make it unlikely that one (or they) could have produced a virgin queen in the timeframe I was faced with (approx. 2 to weeks weeks from hiving a 3# package).

You hived a 3# package.  If they had a laying queen at that point and they decided to start an emergency queen (maybe because she died a few days after introduction) from a four day old (from when it was layed) larvae it would take 10 to 12 days to emerge.  Then it would take another two to three weeks to get mated and start to lay.  This means you could easily find a hive with no eggs or brood whatsoever and still have a virgin queen running around.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

That's why I recommend a frame of eggs and young brood. That way you can determine if they are indeed queenless or if they have a virgin that just isn't laying yet.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2006, 02:56:09 PM »

Using a brood frame to test for a queen/queenless hive is relatively easy and advisavle.  The influx of brood gives the hive a momentary and needed boust and if supercedure cells are constructed you know you are queenless.  Then you have 2 options, 1. let them raise there own queen or 2. buy one and introduce it.  With the problems associated with hives being over medicated I personally prefer the 1st option.
Yes it takes longer but I believe there will be less problems in the long run.
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2006, 10:25:43 PM »

Well. I made my choice a week ago (introduced a new queen). Next time I'll let the bees deal with it their way.

I am concerned that a laying worker(s) is at work now. I didn't see the queen today but there was a small amount of capped brood. And the frame of brood I put in last week is all hatched too. But what has me concerned is the number of drone cells I saw; there were considerably more than worker brood with one entire face of a frame spotty with capped drone cells. It seems like a disproportionate ratio.

Can Laying workers coexist with a queen? I seem to recall that the outcome of such situations usually is the loss of the queen.

Also, in my #1 hive which is going strong into the tail end of this honey flow I noticed a small cluster of drone cells up in lowest honey super (3rd box from bottom, all mediums). Why would the queen go up there to do that?
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2006, 01:19:42 AM »

The job of the queen is to keep the hive alive, she will eggs wherever there is room to do so.  If the concern is because you found eggs above an excluder you may have a bent or twisted twisted grid.  Also remember that 3 medium is about the same size as 2 deeps.  

I prefer to use 4 mediums as the brood box, then a slatted rack instead of the an excluder, then medium supers.  That way, if the queen does hop the space created by the rack, I can easlily drop the frames with brood back down into the brood chamber.
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